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Stars head line-up for the biggest-ever Gloucester History Festival

Tickets are being snapped up for the 2017 Gloucester History Festival (September 2-17) with an outstanding line-up of TV personalities, top historians, actors and leading politicians appearing.

Some 25 per cent of all tickets went in the first three days of the box office opening with guest speakers including TV's Countryfile presenter Anita Rani, ever popular TV broadcaster Dan Snow, former Chancellor of the Exchequer Ken Clarke and Tony Robinson, TV's Baldrick and Time Team presenter.

"Revolution and Innovation" is the theme of the fantastic Gloucester History Festival with the stars lined up to appear at the hugely popular Blackfriars Talks (September 9-17).

The packed programme at Gloucester History Festival (with many events free) also includes:

• Gloucester Day (September 2): Celebration of the end of the Civil War siege of Gloucester with historical re-enactments, parades and lots of fun with a strong community focus.

• City Voices (September 2-17): Events in stunning locations across the city with historical and community talks, musical events and concerts, hands-on workshops, family shows including storytelling, nature trails and pop up activities.

• Family Day (September 9): Free events for children of all ages and their families including fun hands-on workshops, great art activities, storytelling, exciting family trails and free shows across seven city venues.

• Heritage Open Days (September 7-10): Visit many of Gloucester's historic buildings free of charge with talks, walks and music. A national scheme overseen by the National Trust, there are more than 120 events to choose from.

Overall, the range of events at the Gloucester History Festival is vast and varied. Paddy O'Connell from BBC Radio 4's Broadcasting House will talk about Capt. Jerry Roberts, one of the greatest codebreakers at Bletchley Park who helped win the Second World War (September 15).

David Olusoga,(pictured right) one of the presenters of the new BBC2 Civilisations history series, will ask whether TV can bring history and art to the people and change lives (September 10).

The History Festival is breaking new ground with the first public event for Shaun Greenhalgh , one of the world's greatest art forgers who fooled many of the experts. He will discuss the forger's skills with Sunday Times art critic Waldemar Januszczak (September 16).

And fans of Radio 4's serial about country folk, The Archers, are in for a treat. Actor Barry Farrimond who plays the character Ed Grundy, agricultural story editor Graham Harvey and writer Joanna Toye will talk about the world's longest running radio soap opera (September 12).

Value day passes are available Monday to Friday for the Blackfriars Talks and start from just £15 for a whole day's events.

Blackfriars Talks Curator Sarah Smyth, (pictured below) said: "I'm really delighted by the breadth of speakers we're welcoming to Blackfriars this year. From historian and TV presenter Dan Snow and The One Show's Anita Rani to actor Tony Robinson and politician Ken Clarke there really is something for everyone.

"It's our largest programme ever and I'm thrilled by how popular our new £15 day tickets are proving to be."

She added: "Three events I'm particularly looking forward to are former BBC Moscow Correspondent Bridget Kendall talking about the Cold War, Anita Rani discussing the Partition of India and our special event going behind the scenes of Radio 4's The Archers.

"And two events created specially for the Festival include the opportunity to hear David Olusoga talking about the power of history on TV and the chance to see the famous Lowry forger Sean Greenhalgh - featured on BBC1's Fake or Fortune - appearing on stage for the very first time."

For further details about the festival and to book tickets visit www.gloucesterhistoryfestival.co.uk call the box office on 01452 396572 or visit the Tourist Information Centre at 28 Southgate Street, Gloucester GL1 2DP.

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